Michigan gets $349,000 in cell ‘cramming’ deal

In this Sept. 12, 2012 file photo, a man uses a cellphone as he passes a T-Mobile store in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says the state will receive $349,000 as part of a $90 million national settlement with cellphone company T-Mobile.

Schuette says in a release Friday that the deal with T-Mobile USA, Inc., resolves allegations that the company placed charges for unauthorized third-party services on consumers’ mobile telephone bills. The practice is known as “cramming.”

Michigan’s portion of the settlement money will go to the state’s general fund.

Schuette estimates that about 136,000 T-Mobile customers in Michigan incurred an un-refunded charge and may be eligible for refund under a restitution program.

“Cramming” involves monthly charges for premium text message subscription services such as horoscopes, trivia and sports scores. The third-party charges are placed on mobile bills without the customer’s knowledge.

The Federal Trade Commission alleges that T-Mobile collected 35 percent to 40 percent of the charges, even after being alerted by customers that they were bogus.

Schuette announced a similar, $105 million settlement with AT&T in October.

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